Below is a roundup highlighting some of the great work our grantees and Foundation staff accomplished in January 2020.


FIRST engages in fun, mentor-based programs that build STEM skills, inspire innovation, and develop leadership. Earlier this month, aithority reported that FIRST launched its 2020 Robotics Competition season by announcing a new robotics game called INFINITE RECHARGE. In INFINITE RECHARGE, two alliances work to protect FIRST City from destruction by incoming asteroids. Working with their droids, each alliance will race to collect and score ‘Power Cells’ to activate their section of a ‘Shield Generator’ to protect the city. Working with adult mentors, students will design, build, program, and test their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge. The teams will then participate in one or more of the 173 Regional and District events around the world to assess each team’s approach and their robots.  

Students participating in the FIRST Robotics Competition may apply for over $80 million in FIRST Scholarships from colleges, universities, and technical programs.

FIRST is a grantee in the Inspired Minds portfolio.


Kaylani Gomez, 4, works on her Waterford UPSTART computer with her mother, Valeria Gomez, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019.

Kaylani Gomez, 4, works on her Waterford UPSTART computer with her mother, Valeria Gomez, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. Image via Las Vegas Sun

To help their children prepare for kindergarten in a state with a shortage of early-learning opportunities, some Nevada families are turning to online alternatives, like Waterford UPSTART, reports the Las Vegas Review Journal. Last fall, UPSTART launched a free pilot program—subsidized through private grants and partnerships—in Nevada’s Clark County school district, which includes Las Vegas, where many families have nontraditional work schedules. 

“Parents and families are the first teachers of their children. They spend more time with their children than anyone else. They are increasingly aware of the importance of a good education for their children, and they are anxious to make sure their children have a successful start,” writes Benjamin Heuston, PhD, UPSTART’s president and CEO. “By providing families with the information, support, and tools they need to help their children with early educational experiences inside the home, we can ensure all children have the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in school and in life.”

Claudia Miner, UPSTART co-founder and executive director, told the Las Vegas Sun that there are 424 Clark County preschool-age children enrolled in the program. And while the program isn’t meant to replace typical preschool, it will fill gaps for those who can’t access traditional early childhood education. “There are a number of different barriers that exist, and we’re just trying to expand parent choice,” she said.

UPSTART is a grantee in the Early Impact portfolio.

Nurse Family Partnership (NFP)

Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) supports low-income pregnant women across the country by partnering them with a credentialed nurse who provides education and care. Every NFP program in the country complies with precise standards honed over decades of practice, including sending newly-hired nurses to Denver for a week-long curriculum training.

Since 2000, the North Carolina Health News reports that NFP has operated 14 programs across North Carolina’s 26 counties, and has served more than 7,400 families. Last year, Care Ring, which started its NFP program in 2009, won the national “Tenacious Caregiver Award” among all US NFP network providers from more than 630 counties for “operating at full capacity with high nurse and client retention and high graduation rates.” 

Nurse-Family Partnership is a grantee in the Early Impact portfolio.


Pre-school boys playing with modeling clay

Pre-school boys playing with modeling clay. Image via NYMetroParents

On January 9th, the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) launched MathPlay, reported NYMetroParents. Led by a qualified preschool specialist, MathPlay will bring early childhood STEM education preschool classes to children aged three to five. Through fun, engaging activities, children will explore different STEM themes, building on a variety of math concepts while encouraging children to think creatively. Sessions will be held through March and more information can be found on MoMath’s website.

MoMath is a grantee of the Inspired Minds portfolio.


PowerMyLearning refurbishes and provides used, donated computers and learning software to disadvantaged middle school children. In this Pest Control Technology spotlight, Brad Harbison shares the story of the Rollins, Inc. IT Group and their partnership with PowerMyLearning.

“Our Rollins group is so fortunate to be part of PowerMyLearning, and we are incredibly proud to serve alongside them,” said Kelly Solomon, Director of IT Services at Rollins. “The real reward is watching a student receive their very own laptop. Their excitement is contagious and their enthusiasm to learn with technology is palpable.”

PowerMyLearning is part of the Inspired Minds portfolio.

Centering Healthcare Institute

Abbe Kirsch, a midwife with CenteringPregnancy, holds two babies of recent participants during a reunion held in January.CreditNatalie Keyssar for The New York Times

Abbe Kirsch, a midwife with CenteringPregnancy, holds two babies of recent participants during a reunion held in January. Image via Natalie Keyssar for The New York Times

By gathering patients in a group and covering the frequently-asked questions, Centering Healthcare Institute founder and midwife Sharon Schindler Rising noticed that she could be more efficient, leaving more time for discussion and deeper questions. This is the basis for CenteringPregnancy, a group prenatal care model that is now available in nearly every state and is deemed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as a safe alternative to traditional prenatal care. The New York Times’s Sarah DiGregorio dives deep in her piece, “Prenatal Care Takes a Village.”

Centering Healthcare Institute is a grantee of the Early Impact portfolio.

Foundation News

On January 15th, the Early Impact team sponsored and hosted 30 early childhood funders for an interactive showcase of promising innovators in parent support programs. Featured foundation grantees included Phil Fisher from the University of Oregon, Jack Shonkoff from Harvard, Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, Centering Healthcare Institute, Family Connects, LIFT, ParentCorps, and NFP. Videos from the event can be found here.


Interested in joining our team? We are looking for a Program Director, Impact Assessment Manager, and Data and Insights Manager.